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6th December 2018 Two Former Tesco Directors Acquitted Of Charges Of Fraud and False Accounting

A judge has thrown out a fraud and false accounting court case due to lack of evidence and criticised the Serious Fraud Office SFO for bringing the case to court.

In 2014 Tesco reported expected half year profits were overstated by about a quarter of a billion pounds

It was alleged that two directors were aware that income was being wrongly included in the company’s financial records to meet targets and make Tesco look financially healthier than it was.

Tesco profits had included income brought forward from its suppliers who sell their goods in the stores as well as delayed charging of costs. In other words Tesco profits had been incorrectly calculated.

The SFO took their cause to the Court of Appeal but there was no evidence that the two men knew of the accounting errors and therefore had no case to answer.

26th November 2018 Accountants BDO To Merge With Moore Stephens

The combined entity would leapfrog Grant Thornton to become the UKs 5th largest accountant. The big four accountants being Deloitte PWC EY and KPMG.

The deal is expected to complete in spring 2019 and the new accountancy group will trade under the BDO brand.

Expanded BDO group gross annual revenue of  six hundred million pounds and employing 5000 people across the UK

Partners of both firms have voted in favour of the merger subject to final contracts.

22nd November 2018 Senior Auditor Pay Clawback Rule Would Mitigate Damage From Conflict Of Interest 

Sky News is reporting that competition regulators the Competition and Markets Authority CMA are being asked by influential organisation to adopt malus and clawback provisions in contracts of accountants audit partners. This would enable payments to auditors and senior managers at accountants to be clawed back in the event that a corporate audit is found to be flawed.

Legal and General Investment Management LGIM has recommended to CMA in its review of the UK audit market to adopt rules on pay clawback for FTSE listed companies. If auditors or senior managers at accountants were to act inappropriately in selling and delivering audits they could personally lose out financially.

The CMA is reviewing whether the whole UK audit marketplace needs changing to prevent more perceived major audit failures. In future accountants audit partners may only be able to share profits from audits not share profit form audit and non audit work. The thinking is that there would be less desire for accountant audit partners to sell non audit work. 

KPMG has autonomously decided to stop undertaking non audit work for the FTSE 350 companies whose accounts it supervises. This could be a practical acknowledgement of the potential for conflicts of interest in accountancy marketplace in UK.

21st November 2018 Grant Thornton Being Investigated By Financial Reporting Council FRC

The accounting watchdog the FRC is to investigate Grant Thornton audits over three years of Patisserie Valerie before its near collapse. It will also look at Patisserie Valeries former chief financial officer CFO Chris Marsh who has been suspended and subsequently resigned after a multi million pound black hole was discovered in the companys finances.

This fits into growing criticism of auditors and the regulators FRC for their failure to prevent financial collapse of large high profile businesses or perceived failure of the auditing system including the collapse of Carillion in January 2018.

The senior management team within a company has direct responsibility and accountability for managing the financial risks of the business but it would appear to many that the policing of accountancy standards.

12th November 2018 Audit Inquiry To Start In January 2019

The UK parliament will start an inquiry into auditing in January to ensure that two pending auditing reviews will lead to actual reform of a broken auditing sector dominated by the Big Four accounting firms.

Recent audit accounting scandals include the collapse of construction firm Carillion issues surrounding retailer BHS and cafe chain Patisserie Valerie are driving a demand for Big Four accountants to be broken up

The Competition and Markets Authority CMA is due to report findings from its fast track investigation of auditing.

A separate review for the government by John Kingman is looking at how the accountancy sectors regulator the Financial Reporting Council FRC could be strengthened. It will also report back by the end of the year. Many claim the FRC is toothless ineffectual industry regulator.

Members of the UK parliament have already called on the CMA to consider forcing the Big Four to separate their audit and advisory work to avoid potential conflicts of interest when a customer receives both services.

KPMG decided this week to stop selling advisory services to its audit clients. Deloitte and PwC have signalled some support for this change.

4th June 2018 KPMG To Layoff Hundreds Staff After Graft Scandal

KPMG will layoff 400 people. It is closing offices in South Africa following corruption scandal.

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